Our Equity Agenda

Jan. 8, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year, and welcome to winter quarter. I hope you enjoyed a good holiday with family and friends — and I also know how quickly that sense of relaxation can recede with the intensity of beginning the term. I hope the first week of the quarter is going well for you.

I am happy to report that our enrollment is up slightly, and we are likely to be even with last winter quarter once all adds and drops are finalized. Thank you to our faculty members who have been adding students to courses, and to all of our staff who have been assisting students with their needs and questions. And, of course, we want to thank our custodial and grounds staff who worked so hard to prepare the campus for the beginning of the quarter. As you probably noticed, their work was complicated by the sudden fall of one of our oldest and grandest trees — towering over the Sunken Garden — that came down after the storm in December.

This will be an exciting quarter and calendar year, as we continue to focus on the equity issues so central to our college. Divisions will be working on their equity plans as we strive to minimize student achievement gaps. The development of the Educational Master Plan for 2015-2020, with equity as a frame, is currently underway through an excellent committee composed of a cross-section of faculty, staff and administrators.

A key event is being held on Wednesday, Jan. 28: a conference on Social Justice, Equity and Basic Skills Linkages. The event is sponsored by our Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education and funded by DARE. I’m pleased that the featured speaker is Estela Mara Bensimon, a highly respected figure in the field of equity in higher education. I encourage you to attend this event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 28th in Conference Rooms A&B.

And finally, early news about commencement: We are experimenting this year with having graduation indoors, at the City National Civic auditorium in San José (the home of most of our students, as you know). Our recent experiences at graduation with wilting heat, in particular, has led us to try another venue. More information will be available later this quarter, but please do alert your graduating students about the change in location.

My very best wishes for an excellent quarter. Again, Happy New Year.

Brian Murphy

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